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Adding A Wood-Fired Boiler / Furnance or a 3rd Wood Stove

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by amkazen, Dec 31, 2009.

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  1. amkazen

    amkazen New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Messages:
    68
    Loc:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi,
    I started a thread (Buying a 3rd wood stove) in the Hearth Room about adding a 3rd wood stove to my house. We currently have a Pacific Energy Artisan and an Englander FPP-12 (thought it was a 13-NCL..shows how much my memory has gone) on the 2nd story, which is the main living floor. We are considering adding a 3rd wood stove to the 1st floor (garage, game room, theater room) with the idea of making that floor more comfortable to use in the winter time. I was thinking of a stove for the 1st floor that could be fired-up and "forgotten" about, since we do spend the majority of our time on the 2nd floor. This is the last time I build a 2-story home with dedicated-purpose (theater room, game room) rooms.

    Anyway, a common answer to my post was to forget the 3rd wood stove and go with a wood-fired boiler or furnace. I had considered that a few years back but was turned off by the fact I had read on this forum people were going thru 7 - 10 cords of wood per year. But, maybe I need to revisit the idea.

    We currently have a propane-fueled Crown boiler that supplies hot water to the in-floor radiant heating system and also supplies domestic hot water to a Crown in-direct hot water tank. Propane is expensive at about $2.50 per gallon right now, and the price fluctuates like crazy: we filled our 1,000 gallon tank 3 months ago at $1.45 per gallon. We keep the radiant floor set at about 60 degrees on average to avoid using too much propane and we use the wood stoves upstairs to get the heat up to a comfortable level.

    We live in the foothills above Albuquerque, NM at 7,000 feet elevation. We get snow when the city doesn't, which happened last night. We woke this morning to 5 inches of snow and snow-packed roads. After driving the 3 miles on snow we finally got to the "maybe it is wet" main road but no snow. I actually do not consider this snow after having lived in the UP, Oscoda, MI, Buffalo, NY, and Plattsburgh, NY but I wanted to give an idea to you that my house's location does get winter weather. We also continually hit the low - mid-teens in the morning.

    I am very open also to adding a solar hot water system to my house so if you folks have any ideas on 1) how I can keep my propane use to a minimum in the winter, 2) add a second or third fuel supply (solar or wood or both) hot water system to the house so I can have choices if the price of propane skyrockets, I am interested.

    Thanks.

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  2. shoeboxlen

    shoeboxlen Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Messages:
    189
    Loc:
    Schoharie County NY
    When we were looking at a boiler I was skeptical because of the cost but honestly now I am very glad we went with it. nice heating the whole house with one fire. I would deffinitly buy my gasser again!
  3. 91220da

    91220da Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Messages:
    145
    Loc:
    Pocono's Pennsylvania
    One big fire is easier to deal with than three small fires. I am very happy with the fact that I put my boiler in the garage rather than the basement. Smoke, soot, ash, all outside rather than in the house. No carrying firewood up or down flights of steps. No bark or log dropings in the house. No bugs or other things crawling out of the firewood in the house. Constant even temps in all rooms of the house. If I lived in New Mexico I would do a wood boiler with storage option so that the storage could be heated or maintained with solar also. Good luck with whatever you decide. This is the best place for info so take your time and do the research. If I had to do my deal again I would have bought a Seton Boiler vs. the Greenwood. Same type of boiler except that Seton is still in business.
  4. mike1234

    mike1234 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    381
    Loc:
    Colorado
    How can 3 fires burn less that 1 fire from a boiler or furnace? If I was in your situation I think I would at least consider: putting in a wood boiler w/out storage at first tied into the in floor heating you have now, and continue to use 2 wood stoves to augment that. Later I would add storage so that wood stoves would only be used for ambiance. I would go with a furnace if I had forced air, but since you already have a boiler, much of your plumbing is already done. As far as what boiler - tarm, eko??? Need to ask those who have them.

  5. Hunderliggur

    Hunderliggur Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Messages:
    602
    Loc:
    Lothian, MD
    Our long range plan is something like yours. We built the house and got it running with a propane heater for the radiant floor system. This year we had to pick one of two options - wood boiler or solar (cost limited). We choose to do the wood boiler first since we could make as much heat as needed regardless of the sunshine. We had our storage tanks fitted to eventually add the heat exchanger coil from a solar array in the future. The storage is nice - you can build up heat refilling the boiler as needed, then let the system use the stored heat. Depending on your environment and home schedule, you may be firing your boiler all weekend when home, then firing less during the week. There are many options on how to use your system
  6. amkazen

    amkazen New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Messages:
    68
    Loc:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Ok, I have done a lot of reading this morning. Thanks for the help! I have created a plan to implement over the next few months. It looks to me the Tarm Excel 2000, or 2200, or a Seton boiler is the way to go. I have emailed Seton to see if he has a dual-fueled (wood-propane) boiler like the Excel.

    I have learned a wood-fired boiler can be fueled only once per day at certain times of the year, and at other times can be fed every 4 - 5 days. Wow. I never knew that. I thought they had to be maintained like a wood stove.

    So, the idea of a 3rd wood stove in the house is history. We will replace the Englander 12-FP with a different stove that has a secondary burn capability. The Baker's Oven is interesting, as is the Esse oven, although the price of the Esse is like,, wow!

    My plan to implement over the next few months is to add solar hot water this summer, and add a larger domestic hot water storage tank. I think the larger storage tank should help with the use of propane and hence reduce the cost. It also might help with my showering in the winter time when the shower is not as hot or plentiful because the radiant floor is taking most of the hot water, even with the domestic hot water zone set to priority.

    Thanks again. I will probably post a new thread soon that details my entire heatng plan.
  7. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    I know the Seton has it's fans, but I would mention as a cautionary note that we seem to see a LOT of 'Seton style" boilers (including Greenwood, Adobe, and others) with VERY unhappy owners - including various references to legal action, and so forth - some of them are related to allegedly slimy manufacturers / vendors, but enough that I have my doubts about the overall design.... OTOH, we have a lot more people with Tarms and other similar gasifier designs, and far fewer complaints...

    Gooserider
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